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Manitoba: Open for business

Manitoba's diverse production industry and locations have been key to its success, and they are front and centre as the province sets its sights to the future.

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Manitoba: Open for business

Manitoba's diverse production industry and locations have been key to its success, and they are front and centre as the province sets its sights to the future.
Manitoba's winter days are bright and refreshing, and winter months are perfect for night shoots. Pictured here: Saint Boniface Cathedral (Tourism Winnipeg.)

Manitoba’s winter days are bright and refreshing, and winter months are perfect for night shoots. Pictured here: Saint Boniface Cathedral (Tourism Winnipeg.)

Earlier this year the Government of Manitoba – in a major vote of confidence for the province’s rapidly expanding $269.4 million production industry – announced the removal of the sunset clause on the Manitoba Film & Video Production Tax Credit, making the incentive permanent.

Productions filmed in the province receive either an up-to 65% Cost-of-Salaries Tax Credit (45% plus bonuses) or a 30% Cost-of-Production Tax Credit, making it easy to see why such high-profile productions as Burden of Truth, A Dog’s Purpose, Channel Zero, JT LeRoy, Into the Loop and others are choosing Manitoba as their visual canvas.

“Now more than ever, Manitoba is an ideal destination for production,” said Rachel Rusen Margolis, Acting CEO & Film Commissioner at Manitoba Film & Music, the Crown Corporation responsible for administering funding, equity and tax credits – as well as marketing the province as a destination for production. “In addition to having an incredibly supportive provincial government and permanent tax credit, the steady growth of the industry has allowed for the expansion of Manitoba’s capacity, infrastructure, crew and talent. Manitoba is truly open for business. We are welcoming production from the world’s major studios, while fostering our own incredible homegrown creators and productions.”

Winnipeg's Exchange District offers one of the largest collections of turn-of-the-century buildings in North America (Manitoba Film & Music.)

Winnipeg’s Exchange District offers one of the largest collections of turn-of-the-century buildings in North America (Manitoba Film & Music.)

Nicole Matiation, Executive Director of On Screen Manitoba, the province’s industry association with the aim to strengthen, boost and expand the province’s media production sector, says the strength of Manitoba’s production industry also lies in its diversity.

“We have production companies that are very experienced in a wide range of genres, languages and cultures – engaged in both service and independent production,” said Matiation. “A quarter of the province’s production companies are Francophone, Indigenous or M├ętis owned and produce award-winning content in French and Indigenous languages. Manitoba is also home to the Indigenous Film Association, an incredibly talented group of filmmakers who are at the forefront of Indigenous storytelling in this country.”

Manitoba also has a lot to offer when it comes to the diversity of locations. Production takes place in all corners of the province including the northern tundra, rolling prairies, Winnipeg’s vast turn-of-the-century exchange district and other architecturally intact neighbourhoods.

“Manitoba has doubled for everything from Chicago, to Siberia to the Pacific Midwest. Our incredible locations and film-friendly attitude make us a repeat destination for studios and producers,” said Margolis.

To help increase the capacity of Manitoba’s production sector, On Screen Manitoba produces All Access, a dynamic annual bilingual industry forum in January that brings broadcasters and distributors to Manitoba to meet with the broader production community.

All Access is a strategic touchpoint for distributors, broadcasters and production executives to meet and do business with Manitoba's production industry (photos by Duncan McNairnay.)

All Access is a strategic touchpoint for distributors, broadcasters and production executives to meet and do business with Manitoba’s production industry (photos by Duncan McNairnay.)

“All Access facilitates the building of relationships between decision makers and the production community in Manitoba,” Matiation explains. “CBC/Radio-Canada, Netflix, Bell Media and Vice are just a few of the high-level guests taking pitches and fostering new business connections with local producers.”

All Access returns in January 2020 in Winnipeg.

With a permanent, highly effective tax credit and world-class crews combined with a range of locations and experienced production companies, Manitoba has a lot to offer.